Aren't you tired of the Red Sox stomping on the Blue Jays? Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

"That's Great. The Toronto Blue Jays Still Can't Beat the Red Sox!"


WRITER’S NOTE: The following is not meant to be insightful as much as it is meant to be somewhat humourous.  I hope that you choose to read on just because you want to be entertained.  There’s a painful admission on my part at the end… ok, several painful admissions… and during this slow Blue Jays offseason, I thought it may be nice to mix it up a bit.  So take a deep breath and indulge… and then take it out on me in the comment box.

There isn’t much that makes me hate a team more than the New York Yankees.  How much do I hate the Yankees?  I was born in Albany, New York (I promise this isn’t the start to a life story).  My grandparents–yes, my Prince Edward Island, Canadian born grandparents–bought me a Yankees hat when I was six.  I proceeded to go downstairs after opening the “gift” and threw it in the garbage.  I have hated the Yankees for a very long time and I was born in New York.  Even more perplexing, is my father grew up in Syracuse, New York!  That old fart converted to being a Red Sox fan after we moved to Rhode Island when I was three.  Now to the point.

In a conversation kicked off over beer and just shooting the, well, you know–I said “You know something Dad, I don’t think the Blue Jays not signing Tanaka will be all that bad.”  That spurred this pompous, arrogant, I’m-ashamed-to-call-you-my-father remark.

That’s great Just.  But the Toronto Blue Jays still can’t beat the Red Sox!

Be sure to add a condescending laugh to the end of that statement.  The anger immediately started to rise.  I wanted to break his hip.  How dare he!  Suddenly, I didn’t give a rat’s behind about the Yankees anymore.  I wanted Red Sox blood.  I don’t mean Curt Schilling‘s bloody sock either.  I mean, I want like NEWSFLASH: Tonight, the sea ran red with Red Sox Nation blood.  This was not the first time I had felt this way either.

Let me take you back to a story from 2011.  That would be the year I flipped my lid with this Blue Jays team.  Why?  Throughout May and early June, I had said to any Red Suck fan that would listen “You just wait until Bautista, Romero, Morrow, and crew take you down in Toronto.”  It wasn’t long after the Blue Jays took a two game series against Boston that I decided to unleash my Blue Jays fandom defiantly on the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankee conflicted state that is Rhode Island.  Perhaps I should have checked the pitching match-ups first.  That would have saved me some embarrassment.  It was Cecil, Morrow, and Jo Jo versus Buchholz, Fat Lackey, and Not-yet-fat Lester.  If there was any hope of winning one game, it was Morrow vs Fat Lackey right?  WRONG!  The Red Sox outscored Toronto in that series, 35-6 (14-4 in the Morrow-Lackey match-up).  That’s almost 12-2 each game!  I, of course, was relentlessly ragged on.  After 18 years of meaningless Septembers and Octobers, I took my sun and sweat soaked Dunedin Blue Jays fitted cap, threw it in the trash, and poured Dr.Pepper on it.  Why Dr.Pepper?  I was of the belief that since the Blue Jays sucked, it deserved a soda of equal suckage to be poured upon it.

Photo_00001I hated the Red Sox that day more than the Yankees.  It was only temporary, but it still happened.  I wanted to root for a team that I KNEW could beat the Red Sox.  I wasn’t picking the Yankees!  Baltimore was still a joke.  So I picked Tampa Bay.  I went all in too!  I bought a powder blue hat.  I bought a powder blue Rays jersey.  I even threw my last name and number on the back of it.  I wanted the Red Sox to eat feces.  So I flew down to Tampa Bay in my Tampa Bay gear, against the Blue Jays, and to make a long story short, two crazy things happened in 2011.  After Romero pitched a gem in game one of the series at the Trop, the most awkward-yet-epic night of my life occurred.  That night resulted in the picture to the right.  Yes, that’s legit.  Yes, it has not just Jose Bautista‘s autograph on it, but also Casey Janssen‘s and Travis Snider‘s John Hancock (if you don’t know who that is, he was the first to sign the United States Declaration of Independence in a most flamboyant and memorable manner.  The U.S. “joke” is to “put your John Hancock on the dotted line with an X”).

Then, the 2nd part of awesome happened.  The Red Sox collapsed in September and the Rays eeked into the playoffs thanks to a no-name, named Dan Johnson.  What did he do?  Why he only jacked a two-strike home run off the most prolific reliever in the history of the baseball, Mariano Rivera, to tie the final regular season game at seven a piece.  No big deal right?  Then, the Rays 3B Evan Longoria would later hit the walk-off home run, in Joe Carter-esq fashion, that would complete the 2011 Red Sox season of Bobby Valentine suckery and allow me smile from ear-to-ear.  Of course, I was back to being a Jays fan by that point.  How can I not after meeting five Blue Jays players while drunkenly screaming “I’m one of the biggest Blue Jays fans not in Canada!”… while also wearing Tampa Bay Rays gear–and then some of them were kind enough to sign my hat?

So, as great of a story that was, back to the present day.  The old man pissed me off!  I badly wanted to show him up.  That prompted this exchange.

JJ: “Dad, how can you say that?  Lawrie is better than Middlebrooks!  Reyes is better than Bogaerts!”
BJ (yes, those are his initials): “Don’t you mean Drew?”
JJ: “Dad, it doesn’t matter who’s at shortstop!  Reyes is better than almost all of them.”
BJ: “Oh yea, well we got Pedroia at second base!  Who do you have?  Plus, there’s Ross and now Pierzynski behind the plate.  And Pierzynski is a huge jerk Justin!  He’ll probably throw Bautista’s sensitive feelings off the moment he steps up to the dish.  Who’s your catcher?  Ah-rencibia?”
::insert cricket sound here::
JJ: “Touche old man.  I think that midget is overrated, but that’s besides the point.  Just so you know, Arencibia is not the Blue Jays catcher anymore.  It’s Navarro!”
BJ: “Who?  And midget?  Are you serious?  He’s listed just a little bit taller than you!”
JJ: “Again, that’s besides the point.  We got Rasmus!  You lost Ellsbury to your rivals.  Jackie Bradley doesn’t scare me.  Victorino’s Bob Marley walk-up music isn’t going to help him outplay Bautista in right.  And, oh yea!  Encarnacion is greater than Napoli.  We should know!  We once had Napoli and then traded him away!”
BJ: “Oh good for you!  How’d that work out for ya?  In the last year, who’s got more World Series rings?  Napoli?  Or the Blue Jays?  Hey!  Weren’t you guys supposed to be something last season?”
JJ: “Dammit!  How am I getting schooled by you!  You’re drunk!  It doesn’t matter!  Napoli isn’t as good as Easy E.  The Jays outfield is better… and… and…”
BJ: “You’re a Blue Jays fan.  That’s your first problem.  And then there’s the pitching staff.  Game Over.  Dad 1 Son 0.”

So without throwing a ton of combo-sabremetric/conventional stats at you, my old man managed to state the obvious problem here.  Despite the Blue Jays looking improved, at least in terms of depth going into 2014, the pitching may still not be able to compete with the Red Sox.  The old man won the debate (trust me, it’s a rarity).  The Sox continue to get the better of the Blue Jays one way or another.  It doesn’t seem to matter how.  It just happens, either on the field or in the front office, but lately both.  Even in such a simple dealing of John Farrell to Boston.  Remember how we all laughed, only to watch him become a World Series Champion?  The Jays landed Esmil Rogers in return (for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, whom Kyle Franzoni just wrote about.  Don’t forget David Carpenter was also lost in all of this and he became a stud bullpen arm in Atlanta).

If that isn’t rubbing it in enough, the Red Sox pitching will.  They have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to starting pitching depth.  The Blue Jays have that luxury in the bullpen, but that doesn’t really mean jack squat.  Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Thin John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster, Brandon Workman, Henry Owens, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa… the list goes on and on and most of the names mentioned have as high of an upside, if not more so, than Marcus Stroman.

So, in a nutshell, the old man’s statement stands about Toronto.  They’re going to be better in 2014, but that’s great…  The Toronto Blue Jays still can’t beat the Red Sox.

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  • brad

    this article is unbelievably offensive…. I love Dr. Pepper

    • Justin Jay

      Haha! I don’t judge people who drink it. I just think it’s the worst soda. I’d drink Moxie before I’d drink Dr.Pepper

      • Andrew van Laar

        I am officially boycotting all your articles from henceforth. You have been notified.

        • Justin Jay

          Wow. Any reason in particular? The article itself? Or the offensiveness that comes from sadly admitting I wore a Rays jersey? If it’s the article, it’s been a slow offseason for Toronto and I thought telling this story would bring some humour. I’ve had to battle the pressures of switching teams for 2 decades and the important thing to take from the first story is how embarrassing it is to do such a thing.

          Long story short, if the dialect bothers you, that’s how people from this area talk. I gave it to you straight. If you were looking to find insight with this article, well, you came to the wrong place. I could do another player review, or break down somebody elses mechanics, but I like to bring different things to the table. If me admitting the Red Sox are a better team, look, that’s not me being biased. I scrutinize them just as hard as the fans do when the team loses. I just do it all the time. That team is better. What they’ve done, considering last year was suppose to be a “bridge year” was remarkable. I’m not trying to sound to Buck Martinez-like on here and gush about the opposing team. I’m being realistic. They have a good amount of high caliber arms in their system and already on their big league squad. I’m not saying “Let’s just raise the white flag now.” What I am saying is that the odds are stacked against the Jays, even if they get a Santana or Jimenez. Now, if you get both, the Jays might be in business, but it’s still an IF.

          I’m really wishing for a day that I could say to a Sox fan “Toronto’s going to kick your ass tonight” like I could when I was 11, back in ’93. Haha

          • Andrew van Laar

            Hahahahaha! It was in reference to you thinking Dr. Pepper is the worst soda ever :P

          • Justin Jay

            Haha! Well played sir. It’s mighty tough to pick up sarcasm on here. I kind of know Brad a bit. I’m not as familiar with you outside of Jays Journal. Glad it’s over the soda and not the article.

          • Justin Jay

            Well, not to ruin it for my fellow co-writer, but I think Kyle is coming out with an article on rumours in a few minutes. If it’s the guy I think it is, this will be the first I think we’ve all heard of it.

      • brad

        That’s very big of you…. I however do judge people who DON’T drink Dr. Pepper…. not as harshly as red sox fans though. What’s worse than a red sox fan?

        trick question: there’s nothing

        • Justin Jay

          You know Brad, you might be right. As much as I can’t stand the Yankee franchise, it’s funny to watch Sox and Yankee fans go at it. The Yankees usually say 1 or 2 things and let the Boston fans mouth off. Nothing is worse than dealing with Red Sox fans after Boston wins a World Series. Everyday you hear about it. Every… day

          • brad

            woah! Boston won the world series???? Never would have known….

          • Jack Stevenson

            Unbelievably bad drafting over the years has had the Jays
            pick Russ Adams over Cole Hamels, David Purcey over Gio Gonzales, Travis Snider
            over Ian Kennedy, Miguel Negron over Adam Wainwright and David Cooper over Wade
            Miley. No wonder we can’t beat the Red
            Sox.

          • Justin Jay

            Hi Jack, thanks for reading. I can’t argue really with the players mentioned. All I can say is that hindsight is 20/20 and that many other teams besides Toronto picked over these players as well. Honestly though, I think it’s more about poor player development than it is poor drafting. I’m not saying David Purcey would be Matt Moore, but Moore had issues with command too. The difference was the Rays system helped him figure it out. He still has bouts with it, but the Rays seem to have an understanding on how to get it under control. Toronto doesn’t get to say the same thing. Toronto’s young arms often wind up injured at some point as well. Compared to other teams, the Blue Jays are above avg. in pitching injuries.

            Boston’s really done a good job over the last few seasons to get the right people in place to develop their arms. I don’t live too far from Pawtucket and I’m actually excited to go see guys like Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Henry Owens, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman all pitch. I wish Toronto had that kind of depth. Unfortunately, they have Stroman, maybe Tirado and then they’re counting on Sanchez, Osuna, and Norris to figure it out. I really feel that’s why we can’t beat the Red Sox or Rays. Fortunately the Yankees have yet to figure it out and unfortunately Baltimore is getting there.

  • David Stewart

    I used to drink Dr. Pepper. That was when I recovering from my frontal labotomy operation. I am alright now. I drink Tap now. Where is my medication?

  • Robert Murawsky

    I wish I still him my dad here, to argue baseball with. He was a Yankee fan. Blue jay’s had not been invented yet.

  • RyanMueller

    I hate to admit it, but the Jays are going to lose their fair share of games to the Sox this summer. On the bright side, the Yankees are this offseason winners and we all know what that means…..if you don’t just look at the records of ‘offseason winners’ from the past couple years (including our 2013 record). Write an article about that.

    • Justin Jay

      I hate admitting it too Ryan. It’s funny you mention the “offseason winners” thing because the radio station in Boston was just talking about that this past Sunday. Being offseason winner hasn’t really proved much of anything over the last 3 years (BOS ’11, LAA ’12 MIA ’12, TOR ’13). I think people are too quick to see and judge a move. Instead of really breaking down the true impact, they get excited and think that “Adrian Gonzalez hit 40 HRs at Petco! With that short porch near the Pesky Pole, thatmean Gonzalez should hit close to 60!” No lie, that’s what was thought of by radio talk show hosts. In Toronto’s case, they became obvious World Series favourites. I was much more skeptical. Bringing in a new coach with an old coach’s staff is usually the beginning of a recipe for failure. Then you look at all of the moves. I was never a fan of the Dickey trade, though I get why it was done. I was and still am a fan of the Marlins trade. Toronto walked away with the best player in the deal and took a chance that Johnson would bounce back.

      I don’t want to beat those trades to death anymore than they have been already. Point is, I hate philosophical changes… especially half-assed ones. That’s why this franchise keeps losing. Let’s develop prospects, but they don’t really do a good job at it. Let’s sell the farm and bring in high profile players, but they don’t really bring in the right players. The Jays are close to being a contender, so let’s increase payroll to improve the team, but then let’s stop doing that because the results weren’t there the first time. Why? Because they don’t really do a good job at assessing what they have and what they need.

      Everybody following this club this offseason said biggest needs, in this order: 1.) Pitching 2.) Catching 3.) Second Base 4.) Overall Team Defense. That’s not hard to figure out. We addressed one of those needs and while I like the pick up of Navarro, many others scrutinize it. When AA made the trade for Reyes and Johnson, that was awesome. Both were a big team need. We couldn’t predict at the time Johnson’s season would turn out the way it did. It was beyond even the worst of worst case scenarios, but he was an arm to help put this team over the top. Reyes filled the SS need. Catching wasn’t an issue bc if JPA sucked, they had d’Arnaud… and then AA CREATED that issue because he traded d’Arnaud (whom many graded to be better than JPA) for an almost 40 yr old knuckleballer who benefited greatly from a pitcher’s park… and oh yea, there went our best pitching prospect in Syndergaard. We honestly didn’t need Dickey.

      So here we enter into the 2013-2014 offseason, saying there’s a plan. The plan goes from free agency, to trades, back to free agency, waiting on free agency to be serious players in the Tanaka sweepstakes… scratch that idea, the Jays don’t want to be serious players… we’re going to go with what we got, back to free agency, back to Samardija… can anybody just say “We’re desperately trying to explore all avenues”? So now there’s the misleading of fans as well. So I hate philosophical changes. That works out less often than being an offseason winner. Just wait and see what happens to Seattle this season, when Oakland and Texas finish ahead. At least the Yankees haven’t shifted from philosophy. That happened last year and that didn’t pan out so well for them.

      • Jack Stevenson

        Can’t
        agree with you more Justin. Having made the move, the Jays need to win
        now before EE, Bautista, Lind, Reyes, Dickey and Beurhle are past their
        prime and that means get pitching, preferably 2 starters. So they have
        to overpay. You can trade them off later in the contract and payoff some
        compensation if necessary. When the Jays won the WS in 92,93 they were
        paying at least what the Sox and Yanks were paying out.They went out and
        got Morris, Cone,Winfield and Molitor and without these guys they would
        not have succeeded.

        • Justin Jay

          I’ve never been a fan of overpaying for OK starters. I think Jimenez has more upside, so I’d consider it. That’s just me.

          In the early 90s, Toronto (then owned by Labatt Brewing) actually had THE highest payrolls in all of baseball. Not many people seem to realize that. You CAN win with a small payroll, you just have to do lots of HW.